The FBI is warning against a new Google Voice authentication scam that targets people who share their numbers publicly.
What is happening?
Scammers are targeting those who have posted their phone numbers as contact detail while selling different items on social media apps or online marketplaces.
The agency has received reports from people even at sites where the users have published posts regarding their lost pets, along with their phone numbers.
The scammers are setting up a Google Voice account in the name of victims or hijacking their Gmail accounts. These accounts can be used in phishing attacks or other fraud schemes.
How does the scam work?
First, the scammersreach out to their targets using text messages or emails showing their interest in the item put up for sale.
Then they ask the seller to verify their offer is genuine and posted by a real person by sharing an authentication code received by Google. In the background, they are setting up a Google Voice account.
Once set up, the Google Voice account can be used to carry out scams against other victims. They can even use that code to obtain access to take over the Gmail account of the victim.
The ongoing scams are simple yet effective and easily fool people into giving up their authentication code. Therefore, users should stay vigilant while receiving such messages and emails. The FBI advises victims to visit the support website of Google on how to retake control of their accounts.